‘She was the heart of our department’

Art department rocked by longtime assistant’s death

Longtime Art & Design Department Administrative Assistant, Virginia Thomas, 71, died Nov. 18. University Communications confirmed her death in an email sent to the USI community Nov. 21.

Photo Credit: USI Photography and Multimedia
Longtime Art & Design Department Administrative Assistant Virginia Thomas, 71, died Nov. 18.

Interim Art and Design Chair Katie Waters said the department was very pleased to have her join the team in 2002.

“She was just the heart of our department,” Waters said. “She was professional as far as anything with her duties as an administrative assistant.”

Waters said Thomas was an excellent proofreader.

“She was organized, and her files were always perfect,” she said. “In that sense, she was just a very highly organized person coupled that with a wonderful open personality and a lot of charm, and she could get people on the phone and find out the information we needed in just a really charming manner, but she always very diligent in what she had to do in the department.”

She said that Thomas had such a high standard that every piece of work produced was on point.

“She knew everyone at the university, that’s why we want to have a memorial,” Waters said.

Waters said Thomas truly cared about students.

“You can see it, even on the door of her office, that she cared about students,” she said. “She helped students, she listened to students, to their concerns, and helped them, she made us all better people.”

Waters said Thomas has left a wonderful legacy for generations of students.

“I really respected her high ideals about not only her work but about her life and caring for other people,” she said.

A university memorial is still being planned.

Thomas was the eldest of three children, and graduated from Rex Mundi High School in Evansville in 1964. She received her Associate Degree from IVY Tech in Business Administration.

Visitation was Nov. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. and services were held Nov. 24 at 11:00 a.m., both at R. Mason Brothers Memorial Chapel. Liberal Arts Dean James Beeby was among notable guests at Thomas’s funeral.

USI is offering on campus resources through the Dean of Students Office and Counseling Center.Other campus resources include the Multicultural Center, Religious Life, Housing and Residence Life and the University Health Center.

Condolences may be made at www.masonbrothersfs.com. Thomas’s full obituary is available here.